Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Lifestyles

June 3, 2013

The Good Life: The Selfishness of Generosity

CROSSVILLE — Generosity is natural. Trees receive sun, rain, soil and air. They give shade, food, shelter and many other gifts. Children receive the gifts of nurturance and love from their parents and then give the same to their children. All life receives and gives.

Yet we worry about getting hurt or losing out, feeling anxious at the thought of looking silly or getting ripped off. And above all, we look for a payoff. Thus, for most of us, there's a continual push-pull between our natural generosity and wanting a bargain. That's why practicing generosity can be so boundary-expanding. Every time we make a genuine offering or even think a generous thought, especially when we can do it for its own sake without thought of reward, we strengthen our openness and connections with others.

We receive many benefits from our generosity. Researchers have found when people give to charities, it activates regions of the brain associated with pleasure, social connection and trust, creating a “warm glow” effect.  Another study found that people who provided social support to others had lower blood pressure than participants who didn’t. People 55 and older who volunteer for two or more organizations have an impressive 44 percent lower likelihood of dying, and that volunteering was as nearly as beneficial to their health as quitting smoking!

Other studies find that those who help others report that they feel stronger and more energetic after helping others; many also reported feeling calmer and less depressed, with increased feelings of self-worth. Teens who volunteer are three times happier than those who lack such altruistic motivation. Generous behavior reduces adolescent depression and suicide risk.

So be really selfish and improve your own life by being generous. For a month, find a way to be generous every day. Try to give just a little past your edge. This does not mean that you go without or break your budget. You will find that the act of giving does, little by little, helps expand your ability to open your heart. If this practice works for you, do it another month. Make generosity a life practice.

Here is a short list of ways to be generous:

•Share your time, talents and skills with someone who would benefit from them.

•Be kind, listen deeply and just be fully present for another.

•Help calm others.

•Donate to your favorite charity.

•Give your unwanted households and clothes to a charity thrift store.

•Make baked goods for someone who would enjoy them.

•Give away books. 

Generosity arises from a sense of rightness strong enough to take you past your reluctance to give. The most generous people offer without thinking about it, much the same way nature offers itself to us.

May you find what I have reported interesting and something you can use in your life. I invite you to email me your reactions (lgorenflo@gmail.com).

1
Text Only
Lifestyles
  • 8-8 counseling center-play with dolls.jpg Christian Counseling Center celebrating 12 years

    Help the Christian Counseling Center of Cumberland County (C5) celebrate 12 years of community service. Dine at Ruby Tuesday of Crossville Aug. 8, 9 or 10. Print the flyer from the center’s website, www.cccotp.org, and give it to the server.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • A Time 4 Paws collecting shoes to help Soles4Souls in fight against global poverty

    Attention anyone with a closet! Those shoes no longer wanted are desperately needed to fight the human tragedy of global poverty.

    July 24, 2014

  • Parkinson’s therapies help patients live big and loud

    Parkinson’s disease has famously affected the lives of celebrities like Michael J. Fox and Muhammad Ali. But whether a person with Parkinson’s is world famous or a next-door neighbor, new therapies are offering hope for a better quality of life.

    July 22, 2014

  • 8-5 CATS in Palace-Carole Jarboe Cullen - waterfall.jpg Local art event planned at CATS

    Plans are being made for an event sponsored by the CATS Gallery at the Palace Theatre, 72 South Main St., Crossville, Tuesday, Aug. 5, beginning at 6 p.m. There will be refreshments, music and an opportunity to view a performance painting by artist Chuck Jensen. A live auction of donated art pieces will begin at 7:30 p.m. with the opportunity to "Be a Cool Cat — Buy Local Art." There is free admission, but it is advisable to get a free ticket at the CATS Gallery in the middle section of the Crossville Mall, at the Palace Theatre or from any participating member of CATS. During the event, original art items including paintings, photographs, and jewelry will be offered for auction, such as this expressive waterfall painting by Carole Cullen.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Marriage licenses (Published July 23, 2014)

    July 22, 2014

  • fair park.jpg Heritage demonstrators welcome

    Most of Americans today never stop to think how different our lives would have been several hundred years ago. How many times a day do we wash our hands, and do we ever realize when we take those hot showers and lather up, the long all-day process our ancestors had to go through just to make a bar of soap? Not to mention packing water to the house and heating it up over a wood fire just to have a bath and wash clothes. Times are changing faster than ever.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • pleasant hill ramblings.jpg Mathes restores a bit of Pleasant Hill's history

    Miss Alice Adshead, RN, created a “wilderness trail” through the woods just down the hill from Uplands Sanatorium, the first hospital in Cumberland County once located on Main St. in Pleasant Hill.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • plateau gardening-hydrangeas5117.jpg Prune flowering shrubs: now or wait until February?

    Experts say, “Don’t prune woody-stemmed plants (shrubs, trees and some types of vines) after mid-August.” Do pay close attention to that advice. The purpose of this late-season pruning prohibition is to keep plants healthy.

    July 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • IMG_1850.jpg Burgess Falls offers a big payoff for a short hike

    At Burgess Falls, you can be out of your car and taking in the breathtaking view of the Falling Water River as it falls 136 feet in the third and final drop of the river with just a short walk through the woods.
    But even though the state park is close to civilization, this natural wonder retains its wild and scenic reputation.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo 19 Links

  • 8-2 colonial dames.jpg Colonial Dames honors members with luncheon

    The John McKnitt Chapter Colonial Dames 17th Century held its May meeting at the home of Joyce Ernst. Those present were Sherry Sneed, Jessie Watts, Dot Brodhag, Kandy B. Smith, Lynn Constan, Donna Hamilton, Margaret Markum, Lana Davis, Sara Tripiciano, Jane Tavernier, Joyce Ernst, Kathy Wilson, Charlotte Reynolds, and Cheryl Chrobot. President Lana Davis welcomed the ladies and followed with the opening ritual.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo